Johnny Cash and Cadillac: A Classic American Pairing

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Alex Reale
Updated on Apr 27, 2022 · 3 min read
Musicians love talking about cars. Country music can’t get enough of
Chevy trucks
, pop stars enjoy their convertibles and Jeeps, and the world of hip hop and rap is rife with Bugattis and
Aston Martins
It’s a collaboration that benefits both parties: artists can show off their taste and wealth, and car brands enjoy free advertising. And when both the musician and brand are already icons, a good collaboration can quickly become legendary.
One such legendary pairing is the one between Johnny Cash and Cadillac.
Johnny Cash and a Cadillac is a legendary American pairing.

Johnny Cash and Cadillac

It all began with Cash’s recording of Wayne Kemp’s country song “One Piece at a Time,” according to
. The 1976 recording is a classic example of country music storytelling. The narrator sings of going to his assembly line job at the Cadillac factory, daydreaming about having a luxury car of his own.
He hatches a plan to take home one car part at the end of each day so he’ll eventually have all the components to make a Cadillac from scratch. But tragedy strikes: the parts are all from different model years, so his homegrown car doesn’t run properly. It’s a great twist, and it captured the imagination of country music fans across the U.S. and beyond.

Inspired by a song

For some fans, it was more than just a thought experiment. An Oklahoman named Bill Patch was inspired to try to replicate the car that Johnny Cash had sung about in “One Piece at a Time.” He checked out the junkyard offerings and put together a smattering of parts that matched the description of the Cadillac in the song, as reported by HotCars. The result was an endearingly asymmetrical Cadillac parody, exactly what Wayne Kemp had immortalized in his lyrics.
Patch then drove the car directly to Johnny Cash’s home and surprised the legend, a bold choice considering he’d never met the man before. Luckily, the country music star was floored by the gift and wound up befriending Patch and driving the car around to many events and gigs.
The “One Piece at a Time” car was a big hit among fans of both Johnny Cash and Cadillac. It can be viewed now at a museum in Welch, Oklahoma, where it stands as an enduring tribute to the legacy of two American classics.

Insuring a car built from scratch

The “One Piece at a Time” car seems to be an interesting insurance challenge. How do you calculate rates for a car with no precedent? Well, a
custom-built car
needs kit car insurance, which is similar to classic car coverage.
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